ATLANTA – February 28, 2019 — Lost-n-Found Youth (LNFY) has been awarded a grant for $25,000 from The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) in partnership with Macy’s.
The grant will be used for LNFY’s “PROMISE for HIP” program, which provides a safe space for LGBTQ homeless youth to receive HIV testing and treatment. The grant will also support LNFY’s community outreach and education around HIV prevention.
PROMISE (Peers Reaching Out and Modeling Intervention Strategies) for HIP (high-impact prevention) is a community-level HIV/STD prevention intervention that relies on role model stories and peer advocates to influence individuals to reduce HIV risk behaviors and increase engagement related to the HIV continuum of care.
Macy’s and ETAF join organizations Gilead and United Methodist Global Health as funders of the program. Because of their philanthropic contributions, LNFY will be able to provide more than 600 homeless LGBTQ youth with HIV/STD screening in 2019 and link 100% of its HIV positive homeless LGBTQ youth to care.
“Lost-n-Found Youth is a powerful part of a collective effort to achieve an AIDS-free world, a world Elizabeth Taylor is still helping to realize through ETAF,” said Catherine Brown, Executive Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. “ETAF and Macy’s are honored to support LNFY with these funds to continue our aligned goals of health equity and zero discrimination for all people living with or at risk for HIV and AIDS.”
LNFY was one of 45 2019 ETAF grantees and the only nonprofit in Georgia to be awarded funds.
“We are humbled and grateful by the generosity of The Elizabeth Taylor Foundation and Macy’s and feel privileged to work in partnership with them around this worthy cause.” said Robert Ross, LNFY board chair.
Meeting a Critical Need
When LNFY was founded in 2011, it became the first – and remains the only – organization in metro Atlanta specifically focused on supporting LGBTQ homeless youth.
Since then, it’s expanded from solely offering emergency shelter to now offering a full suite of wraparound services – from showers, hot meals and laundry service to mental and physical healthcare, job readiness and housing support – all in hopes of helping its youth smoothly transition into healthy, stable lives.
The LNFY Youth Drop-In Center operates as a main point of entry for its clients, and, annually serves approximately 3,000 youth, typically ranging in age from 18 to 26, but sometimes as young as 13.
Many of the youth arrive at the center after months of couch-surfing or, in many instances, sleeping under city bridges. Once fed a hot meal, LNFY staff triage to determine what support services are needed. Testing for HIV/AIDS has become priority.
According to a recent study by Emory University, metro Atlanta has the fourth-highest HIV rate of major U.S. cities, with homeless LGBTQ youth being one of the most vulnerable populations.
Despite advances in drug treatments and care that have transformed HIV into a manageable chronic disease for many, this reality is often out of reach for many of LNFY’s clients, making prevention even more critical.
This stems from symptoms of homelessness, such as lack of insurance and access to adequate health care, but is heightened due to the stigma associated with their sexual orientation, resulting in many not having a support system of family and friends.
Nonclinical HIV testing programs like LNFY’s PROMISE for HIP reach homeless LGBTQ youth in environments acceptable and accessible to them.
“Our youth are not numbers or statistics,” said Ernest Walker, LNFY’s director of programs. “Our youth are filled with light, hope and promise, and we are working daily to give them the opportunity to beat the odds, fulfill their potential and live happy, healthy lives.”
Photo Caption: Representatives from Macy’s, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and Lost-n-Found Youth pictured at the LNFY Youth Center immediately following the check presentation.
Photo by Bonnie Moret
About Lost-n-Found Youth: Lost-n-Found Youth is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that exists to end homelessness for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) youth. LNFY operates a 24/7 crisis hotline, a drop-in youth center and shelter. For more information: www.LNFY.org.
About The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation: The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) funds programming which provides direct care and support to people affected by HIV and AIDS. Inspired by Elizabeth’s personal passion for the cause, ETAF also engages with advocacy and education initiatives to advance our goal of an AIDS-free world.
About Macy’s and Elizabeth Taylor: Elizabeth Taylor and Macy’s have a long history of partnership in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Elizabeth Taylor was Founding Chair of Macy’s Passport, an awareness-raising fashion show and gala event which began in the 1980’s and continued for thirty years. In addition, Ms. Taylor was involved in related cause-driven promotions via Macy’s, including Glamorama and Fashion Pass. In 2017, ETAF supporters, actress Judith Light and renowned HIV specialist Dr. Michael Gottlieb MD, presented Macy’s with the inaugural Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation Dr. Michael Gottlieb Partnership Award. Since the onset of the AIDS pandemic, Macy’s has stood with top designers and community organizations to raise millions of dollars as well as invaluable HIV and AIDS awareness.